History in the Lines

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Spokes of the wagon wheel
now ghosts in a metal ring
Tales of travels told
left to rust in tangled weeds
Voice of experience
from which we take our leave
Close our eyes, numb our minds
Rewrite the chronicles
we don’t like to see

The lessons learned, lessons lost
In the bars on the windows
and the numbers on the charts
In the scuffed linoleum tiles
where one must pace the miles
In the creases of hands
grown clawed and still
In furrowed brow’s confusion
above eyes blank
with memory, discounted

In the pairings of shoulders
upholding caskets
Lined with truths
and Fahrenheit ashes
Orwellian, Shakespearean
Burnt spines of
Silverstein, Hemingway and Twain

Volcanic gods of affected outrage
and querulous uniformity
demand the ink-blood of
Lewis, and Henkes, of Morrison, and
of dear, sweet Wilder

Condolences offered as delicacies
at the harrowed caricature
of reception
– wedding or wake?

Guests can’t sign the book
when the pages curl
in flames of offense licking
bindings of hypocrisy
The lines become empty
in the history of a past

so easily forgotten

-KJ Roe

 

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